Some popular techniques are:
- Daydream. Imagine that you are truly in the place and time of your novel, and put yourself inside the scene you're creating. Pretend that you are the people in your novel. How would you react?
- Walk around with a journal, and use it frequently. When you hear an interesting bit of conversation, visit a stunning location, or otherwise see anything that you might want to eventually include in your novel. Real life can be a powerful inspiration for creative fiction.
- If applicable, draw maps and sketches to represent please and places in your novel. If you're not much of an artist, use the written word to describe what you want your readers to see. Make detailed character backgrounds, and keep them in a binder. That way, you can refer to them frequently while writing.
- If at all possible, read books or watch movies relating to the places and people you're writing about. If your story takes place in Paris, watch movies that take place in Paris. If you're writing a fantasy and having to create your own world, watch some fantasy movies to get a feel for fantastical worlds.
- Act it out. This may sound a little silly, and make you look a little eccentric, but it works. Take your daydreaming to the next level, get up, and truly participate in your scenes, at least as much as you can. You maybe don't want your neighbour seeing you prance around the living room shouting out lines, but for discovering what works and what doesn't, sometimes acting is the way to go.